Mark Funke Bookseller has issued a catalogue with the brief title Exile. That's not something most people wish to be, and that was certainly the case with the authors in this collection. As Funke explains, this is a catalogue “of 39 objects pertaining to the cultural and life experiences of individuals expelled or forced out of their home countries between 1923 and 1945 due to Hitler's rise in power.” Not surprisingly, many of these people were Jews but there were others, Germans opposed to the Nazis, Austrians fleeing their rule after their country was taken over by Germany, Poles evading capture during the war. As tough and sad as it was for these people being exiled from their homes, they were the lucky ones. Most of those who were unable to escape to a foreign land were exterminated in the concentration camps during the war. It was an absolutely horrific time and let's hope that we have learned a lesson because there are too many signs of this type of horror arising again. For example, take Ukraine. These are a few selections from this catalogue.
George Grosz was a German artist noted for works from the Dada movement and biting satirical caricatures. He was a communist only to become disillusioned after a trip to the Soviet Union in the early 1920s. In 1928, he was prosecuted for blasphemy based on his drawings but was acquitted. However, his days in Germany were numbered as he was bitterly anti-Nazi. Once Hitler came to power he realized he could stay no longer. He emigrated to America, a country he admired, in 1933 and became a U. S. citizen a few years later. He did not return to Germany until 1959, only to die there two months later after a fall. Item 1 consists of 16 color plates from Ecce Homo, published in 1923. Shortly after Hitler came to power, Grosz's works were banned and 20 of them were displayed in Germany's infamous “Degenerate Art” exhibit in 1937. Priced at $5,000.
The Nazis did an encore of their “Degenerate Art” show in 1938 with a “Degenerate Music” exhibition. Czech Austrian composer Ernst Krenek earned a place in this exhibit. He is best known for his jazz opera Jonny spielt auf (Johnny plays). It is a story about a Black jazz musician. The poster artwork of the Black musician playing a saxophone was transformed into a monkey-like caricature with a top hat and Jewish star pinned to his lapel. It's appearance in this exhibition is testament to the popularity the opera had enjoyed. Krenek had already left Germany by then, leaving in 1933 and settling in the United States in 1938. He remained there until he died in 1991. The Nazis identified Krenek as Jewish as this would make him even more reprehensible in the eyes of their followers though he was not. Item 5 is Grosz's words and music for The Santa Fe Time Table, an unrecorded 1945 first edition manuscript facsimile, of which Funke was not able to locate any other copies before a 1961 edition. $2,000.
Item 33 consists of two issues of Mitteilungsblatt der Hitachduth Olej Germania we Olej Austria (Newsletter of the German and Austrian Immigrant's Association) published in 1939. One contains an article headed (translated) Accelerate Your Move Out! It was published in Tel Aviv, then part of Mandatory Palestine, by Hitachduth, a Zionist immigration organization. Copies were mailed into Germany and Austria. It includes updates on anti-Jewish laws passed in Germany as well as information on how to move to Palestine. It was good advice though by then it had become difficult for Jews to escape Germany. The newsletter also contained advertisements for Tel Aviv businesses that catered to immigrants. $1,000.
The title of this next book is Die Internationale: Eine Denkschrift zur Vierzigjahrigen Grundung der Internationalen Arbeiter-Assoziation (First Internationale: A Commemorative to the 40th Anniversary of the International Workingmen's Association) by Gustav Jaeckh, published in 1904. This was an international labor, leftist, socialist, anarchist organization, with different factions that made it unruly. It lasted for 12 years before dissolving, though a Second Internationale would later be formed. This copy belonged to Albert Grzesinksi, a German Interior Minister during the Weimar Republic and Police Chief of Berlin. Grzesinksi was from the center-left Social Democratic Party at a time when Germany was being torn apart by the far left Communists on one side and the far right Nazis on the other. It was a terrible time. In his role as Police Chief, Grzesinksi put down Communist rallies, fearing they were the most powerful and dangerous group. However, as events unfolded in the early 1930s, he attempted to put down the Nazis as well. In 1931, he sought to put a gag order on Hitler and have him deported back to Austria. He commented that Hitler should be “chased away with a dog whip.” He was unable to get the German Chancellor to sign the expulsion order. Following a coup in the Prussian state government, where Berlin was located, Grzesinksi was removed from his position. Shortly after Hitler came to power, he had Grzesinksi denaturalized, making him no longer the citizen of any state. It also led to the confiscation of his property. Grzesinksi fled to Switzerland in 1933 and made his way to the United States, settling in New York and being active in anti-Nazi organizations during the war. Grzesinksi signed this copy and dated it October 19, 1940. Item 17. $500.
This book was written by a brother-sister duo, Erika and Klaus Mann. They were accomplished writers though not nearly as famous as their writer father, Thomas Mann. The brother and sister, as well as their father and other family members were all exiles from Germany, leaving at various times in 1933. In Erika's case, she sought British citizenship as she was being stripped of her German one. To obtain it, she married the British poet W. H. Auden who was gay. It was a marriage of convenience, and they never lived together, but remained friendly for life and in a circle of friends including Klaus. Stripped of his citizenship, Klaus was able to obtain Czechoslovakian citizenship and later American. Such was the twisted life of exiles. Klaus overdosed on sleeping pills in 1949 but Erika was later caught up in the Red Scare in America and once again was on the move, this time to Switzerland. The book is Escape to Life, a tale of their escape from Nazi Germany but then goes on to discuss the creative artists and intellectuals who also left Germany, a brain drain by those with the reputation to be welcome elsewhere. It was published in 1939. Item 20. $1,000.